Why does a 21-year-old girl from Generation Z have such a fondness for an actress born in 1911?
I grew up with my mom and dad watching old re-runs of I Love Lucy. We would go over to my grandparents’ house and gather in the living room. I was the one who brought the DVDs from my house, as I collected all of the seasons.
I would be the television operator because my parents and grandparents were not technologically inclined. They were happy for me to take the lead with the technology and get the party started by getting the old wooden console TV hooked up to the DVD player in order to watch the shows.
With popcorn in hand, I remember looking around and seeing my grandfather, who was quite elderly at the time, laughing and enjoying the experience of watching something he enjoyed from the past. Just the experience alone of seeing my parents and grandparents together, laughing, and enjoying themselves, brought joy to me, even as much as watching the show itself.
My grandpa is now gone, but those memories of watching him be happy again during those later years of his life, lives on through my experience of watching Lucille Ball.
Lucy was the queen of comedy. Best known for her role as the red-headed Lucy Ricardo in the 1950s sitcom, I Love Lucy, Lucy was a television icon.
The beloved actress was born on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York and began her career as a model, before taking the stage on Broadway. After being cast as a chorus girl, Lucy met the spicy Cuban bandleader, Desi Arnaz, and the pair eloped in 1940.
With her heart set on show business, she and Arnaz created their own television studio, Desilu Productions, which is where I Love Lucy was born.
The show dominated U.S. ratings and quickly became one of the most beloved television shows of all time.
Now, fast forward 10 years from my grandparent’s living room, I find myself a senior in college, living in Los Angeles for the semester, looking for my beloved icon, Lucy, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
With palm trees lining the streets and big brass stars on the sidewalks, I rubbed shoulders with a costumed Spiderman as I gazed around at all of the people while simultaneously trying to find the one star that I was searching for.
Amidst the sea of tourists and locals who were rushing past me, I happened to look down after passing by a Crepes store, and there was Lucy.
I almost missed her star, as it was not in a prominent location as I expected it to be. For at least that moment, it seemed like I, a young college student, was the only one interested in finding the permanent monument for this pioneer of women’s comedy.
I knelt down and posed with pride, alongside the star of the lady whose talent I so admired.
Feeling like my mission was now complete, I continued down Hollywood Boulevard in hopes of finding some of my other favorite stars from the 50s and 60s classics, including The Andy Griffith Show, Leave it to Beaver, Gilligan’s Island, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
So what, you say, is the proof of my undying devotion? Well, let me tell you about the Lucy shrine that I have constructed over the years in my room back home in Texas.
I have one bookcase in my room devoted solely to my collection of Lucy memorabilia. This collection includes: I Love Lucy Barbie Dolls, books, lunch boxes, purses, an I Love Lucy street sign, watches, board games, mugs, and even a neck tie. If that’s not proof, then I don’t know what is.
While much of society seems to have moved on, this girl from Gen Z will always have a special place for Lucy in her heart.